This is part 9 of 49 parts video series covering the Gospel of John. In this video, after Jesus had a conversation with a samaritan woman His disciples came back, watch what Jesus told his disciples about sowing, reaping and harvest.
John 4:27-42 (GNT)
JOHN 4: 27-42 (GNT)
27 At that moment Jesus’ disciples returned, and they were greatly surprised to find him talking with a woman. But none of them said to her, “What do you want?” or asked him, “Why are you talking with her?”
28 Then the woman left her water jar, went back to the town, and said to the people there, 29 “Come and see the man who told me everything I have ever done. Could he be the Messiah?” 30 So they left the town and went to Jesus.
31 In the meantime the disciples were begging Jesus, “Teacher, have something to eat!”
32 But he answered, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33 So the disciples started asking among themselves, “Could somebody have brought him food?”
34 “My food,” Jesus said to them, “is to obey the will of the one who sent me and to finish the work he gave me to do. 35 You have a saying, ‘Four more months and then the harvest.’ But I tell you, take a good look at the fields; the crops are now ripe and ready to be harvested! 36 The one who reaps the harvest is being paid and gathers the crops for eternal life; so the one who plants and the one who reaps will be glad together. 37 For the saying is true, ‘Someone plants, someone else reaps.’ 38 I have sent you to reap a harvest in a field where you did not work; others worked there, and you profit from their work.”
39 Many of the Samaritans in that town believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I have ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them, and Jesus stayed there two days.
41 Many more believed because of his message, 42 and they told the woman, “We believe now, not because of what you said, but because we ourselves have heard him, and we know that he really is the Savior of the world.”
Commentary by Enduring Word
And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to Him.
a. The disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman: The disciples were surprised that Jesus stretched the limits of cultural propriety with the extended conversation with the Samaritan woman. Yet – probably sensing that it was right and appropriate – they did not question Jesus about this.
i. Yet no one said: “Their silence was due to reverence. They had already learned that He had reasons for His actions which might not lie on the surface.” (Dods) “They had learned enough to know that, while Jesus did not always respect the conventions of the Rabbis, He had good reasons for what He did.” (Morris)
b. The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city: Perhaps sensing the silent awkwardness of the disciples, the woman left her conversation with Jesus and went back into the city of Sychar. She left so impressed by her time with Jesus (and so certain she would return to him) that she left her waterpot at the well.
i. The left-behind waterpot is the kind of small point remembered by an eyewitness. As one of the disciples to see this, John remembered this event clearly.
c. Come, see a Man who told me all the things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ? Jesus so impressed this woman that she was compelled to tell those in her city that they should come to the well and meet Jesus. Jesus impressed and attracted her, even though He confronted her with her sin (all the things that I ever did).
i. The Samaritan woman was so impressed by the love of Jesus that she now sought out her fellow villagers, even when they had treated her as an outcast before. “If she had avoided the company of her fellow-citizens before, she was a changed woman now; she must seek them out and share her news with them.” (Bruce)
ii. The Samaritan woman was so impressed by the love of Jesus – even as He confronted her sin – that she forgot that she would rather everyone else forget all the things that I ever did. “This pardonable exaggeration indicates the profound impression that Jesus’ knowledge of her private life had made on her.” (Morris)
iii. Jesus displayed so much love and such a sense of security that she felt safe with Him even when her sin was exposed. It’s important for the followers of Jesus to give people today a safe place to confess their sin, repent, and put their trust in Jesus.
iv. The whole interaction with Jesus did not leave her with the impression, “He hates me” or “He judges me” or “He doesn’t want me around.” It left her with the impression that quite possibly, Jesus was who He claimed to be: the Messiah, the Christ (I who speak to you am He, John 4:26).
v. Told me all things that I ever did: “The Jews believed that one essential characteristic of the Messiah would be, that he should be able to tell the secrets of all hearts. This they believed was predicted, Isaiah 11:2, 3.” (Clarke) It isn’t unreasonable to think that some among the Samaritans believed similar things about the Messiah.
d. Then they went out of the city and came to Him: The woman’s invitation was effective. The people came when she told them who Jesus was and how He had impacted her life with their brief conversation.
9. (31-34) Jesus teaches His disciples the source of His strength and satisfaction.
In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
a. I have food to eat of which you do not know: The disciples went into the Samaritan village to get food, and wanted Jesus to eat what they brought to Him.
i. “It is right for the spiritual man to forget his hunger, but it is equally right for his true friends to remind him that he ought to eat for his health’s sake: it is commendable for the worker to forget his weakness and press forward in holy service; but it is proper for the humane and thoughtful to interpose with a word of caution, and to remind the ardent spirit that his frame is but dust. I think the disciples did well to say, ‘Master, eat.’” (Spurgeon)
ii. Jesus wasn’t saying that food and drink and rest are not important. Instead, He wanted His disciples to know that life was more than those things; that man does not eat by bread alone.
iii. I have food to eat of which you do not know: “The pronouns are emphatic: I am refreshed by nourishment hidden from you.” (Dods)
iv. “In these words our Lord revealed the secret of His strength, and that of the weakness of His disciples.” (Morgan)
b. My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me: Jesus had a greater source of strength and satisfaction than the food He ate. Jesus explained to His disciples that His true satisfaction was to do the will of His God and Father.
i. Jesus did not have His focus primarily on the work, the need, the strategy, the techniques, or even the needy soul. First and foremost His focus was on doing the will of Him who sent Me. In contrast, Satan is the ultimate example of one who did not want the will of God, but asserted his will against God’s will (Isaiah 14:12-15).
ii. “He does not even say, ‘My meat is to do my Father’s will.’ He takes a lower position than that of sonship, and dwells chiefly upon his mission, its service, and the absorption in the will of God which it involved.” (Spurgeon)
iii. The experience of countless others through the centuries has proved Jesus true in this statement. There is nothing more satisfying than doing the work of God, whatever that is for the particular believer. Though this is counter-intuitive and against our natural self-seeking, it is true.
iv. “The man of the world thinks that, if he could have his own way, he would be perfectly happy, and his dream of happiness in this state or in the next is comprised in this, that his own wishes will be gratified, his own longings fulfilled, his own desires granted to him. This is all a mistake. A man will never be happy in this way.” (Spurgeon)
v. Jesus found great satisfaction in doing the will of God even when He was weary. In fact, the conscious doing of God’s will refreshed the weary Jesus. “The bodily thirst (and hunger probably, from the time of day) which our Lord had felt before, had been and was forgotten in the carrying on of His divine work in the soul of this Samaritan woman.” (Alford)
c. And to finish His work: Jesus found satisfaction in not merely starting the work of God, but finishing it. This completes the thought begun in the previous verse.
· Jesus was surrendered to the Master’s will
· Jesus was on a recognized commission
· Jesus came to do
· Jesus came to finish His work
i. To finish His work: “The verb is cognate with that used on the cross, when Jesus cried ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30).” (Morris)
10. (35-38) Jesus teaches His disciples about the urgency of spiritual work and opportunity.
Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”
a. There are still four months and then comes the harvest: This was a proverb with the idea that there is no particular hurry for a task because things simply take time and you can’t avoid the waiting. Jesus did not want His disciples to have this mentality; He wanted them to think and act as if the harvest was ready now.
i. “In Greek the words ‘Yet four months and harvest comes’ have a rhythmic form which suggests that we have to do with a popular or proverbial saying.” (Bruce)
ii. “The harvest is ready. The wages are there. Let no man hang back. A harvest will not wait.” (Morris)
b. Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! Jesus used the idea of food and harvest to communicate spiritual ideas. The idea of harvest meant that there were many people ready to be received into the Kingdom of God, and that the disciples should see themselves as workers – reapers – in that harvest.
i. “As he was speaking, the Samaritans were leaving the town and coming across the fields toward him. The eagerness of the people the Jews regarded as alien and rejected showed that they were like grain ready for harvesting.” (Tenney)
ii. Jesus warned His disciples to not think, there are still four months and then comes the harvest. If they had the eyes to see it, the harvest was ready now – even white for harvest, implying that the grain was fully ripe or over ripe.
iii. We should believe, they are already white for harvest!“Expect a present blessing; believe that you will have it; go to work to get it, and do not be satisfied unless you do have it.” (Spurgeon)
c. He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together: Jesus encouraged His disciples in their work with Him in at least three ways.
· Their work in the harvest would be rewarded (He who reaps receives wages)
· The good of their work would last forever (gathers fruit for eternal life)
· Every worker in the harvest would rejoice together in the work.
d. I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors: The disciples could now reap a harvest immediately, and they reaped it from seeds they didn’t sow.
i. John the Baptist and Jesus sowed the seeds, and at the moment the disciples had the opportunity to reap. Many times, this is how the work of God happens – one sows and another reaps (1 Corinthians 3:6-8).
11. (39-42) Many Samaritans believe on the Savior of the world.
And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
a. Many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him: At that moment they did not know enough to trust Jesus and His work on the cross; but they could most certainly believe in Him as the Messiah of God. They did believe, and because of the word of the woman who testified.
b. He told me all that I ever did: The woman was amazed not only that Jesus knew the facts of her life, but that He loved her even knowing the facts of her life. We sometimes fear that if someone knew all that I ever did, they could not love us, but Jesus loved this woman.
c. He stayed there two days: This was remarkable in light of the opinions of most of the Jewish people of Jesus’ day regarding the Samaritans. They regarded Samaria and the Samaritans as a place and people to avoid if possible, and if it were necessary to go through Samaria it should be done as quickly as possible. Yet Jesus stayed there two days.
i. “That Samaritans should invite a Jewish teacher to stay with them, with no fear of a rebuff, shows how completely he had won their confidence.” (Bruce)
ii. “During the stay His reasoning and discoursing added greatly to the number of the believers and supplemented the woman’s work.” (Trench)
d. Many more believed because of His own word: In the days Jesus spent among the Samaritans He taught them, and many more believed.
i. “We may wonder if this was the same ‘city of Samaria’ as was evangelized by Philip a few years later [Acts 8:5].” (Bruce)
e. We know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world: The remarkable testimony of the woman at the well connected these Samaritans of Sychar to Jesus; but in hearing Him they came to a deeper personal faith in Jesus as both Messiah (Christ) and the Savior of the world.
i. Savior of the world: “Not of the Jews only, but of the Samaritans, and of the whole Gentile world.” (Clarke)
ii. “The title ‘Saviour of the World’ was of course prompted by the teaching of Jesus Himself during His two days’ residence.” (Dods)
Commentary by Enduring Word
About the Gospel of John. The gospel of John was written to persuade people to believe in Jesus (20:30-31). The opening verses declare that Jesus is God, stressing His unique relationship with God the Father. The book focuses on seven of Jesus’ signs (miracles), to show his divinity. Jesus called people to believe in him, promising eternal life. He proved he could give life by raising Lazarus (ch.11) and by his own death and resurrection. John features Christ’s seven “I am” statements, his encounters with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman, his upper room teachings and washing of disciple’s feet (chs. 13-16, and his high priestly prayer (ch. 17. It includes the most well-known summary of the gospel (3:16).